Leaving your family is a tricky one, isn't it? You spend twenty-odd years with them, they learn all your qualities and foibles, you argue, make up, steal each other's belongings, and then one day you pack up all the belongings they haven't stolen and say your goodbyes. And that's it. Life changes and you have to somehow compute and then keep up.
I'm not trying to have a moan here. I am aware that I am lucky, in a very privileged position and therefore have nothing to whinge about, in the grand scheme of things. But I'm only human and I do get homesick, and today is one of those days.
At the age of twenty there was nothing I wanted more than to leave the country I'd grown up in and start afresh somewhere new. This is not a reflection on anyone in particular - I, in all my tortured-teen selfishness, felt stifled by the small-village mentality that can be rife in Luxembourg. I wanted something bigger, and better, and anonymous. So I left to start university in Canterbury, some 300 miles away. I struggled at first, but doesn't everyone? Uni ended up being the best three years of my life - I made friends, found love, found confidence, founded the blog. As my final year began to draw to a close, I only briefly pondered my future. Would I return home? Could I return home? Would I revert back to the painfully shy 20-year-old upon arrival in Luxembourg airport? I decided to let the fates decide - I would apply to a few recruitment agencies in both countries and see what would happen.
I got offered a job in Essex on the day of my graduation, and that sealed my fate. There would be no return home; instead I packed my bags and moved in with Jon and his parents.
Every day, I wonder if it was the right decision for me. Not in terms of my relationship with Jon - it's a blessing to live with my soulmate and we were so lucky to find our little flat when we did, to step on the property ladder. Not in terms of my job - I've switched departments three times since I began and I've learned so much, it's definitely not what I envisioned but it certainly would not have been a possibility to be a part of the fashion industry had I moved back home.
My regrets all lie with my family relationships. My siblings have all grown up and passed through the worst of the teenage years without me, my parents have changed, my dog is getting older...and I'm not there to see any of it. I see my family a couple of times a year but it's tough when you have job and holiday constraints. I miss them so much, every single day, that I have trained myself not to open the floodgates, not to think about it. But every now and then it gets too much.
Planning the wedding this year has helped bring a lot of these issues to the forefront of my mind - I chose my dress without my mum, my sisters picked their own bridesmaid dresses, there were no champagne afternoon teas or wedding fairs to visit together. It's a bittersweet time - I'm planning a happy occasion, of course, but my favourite people aren't here to share it with me.
Recently, saying goodbye has been getting more and more difficult, and it's now par for the course for me to shed more than a few tears when I've left them or when they have gone home. I'm not really sure what the answer is - how do I find a compromise between my life over here and my heart over there?
I would genuinely be lost without Whatsapp, Facebook, and more recently Snapchat too. It helps me feel a bit closer to them and means we can count down the days until our next meeting together.
I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this way - if any of this resonates with you, how do you cope? Any tips? Solutions? Please let me know in the comments, or tweet me @polkadani!